Social media like Facebook and Instagram are more popular than ever—research shows people will spend more than five years of their life using social media. For racquet and paddle sports clubs, having a robust social media program is a great way to keep members connected—and to attract new members.
Here at the South Towns Tennis Club in Orchard Park, New York, where I am the Executive Director of Racquets, we are using a combination of social media to keep our current members informed and to attract new members. So do a lot of other club owners and general managers.
“We post a lot of photos of players on our website and also on Facebook and InstaGram,” said Christine Beaudin, the general manager and USPTA Padel Certified coach at Lake Travis Padel near Austin, Texas. Beaudin has welcomed more than 300 padel players to the club since opening last fall. “People are very energized to play. Social media and the photos and videos we post helps people understand what padel is, and how much fun it is.”
Padel combines the elements of tennis, squash, and racquetball. The game is played in doubles-only on an enclosed court made of glass and mesh, about a third of the size of a full-size tennis court. It is easy to learn with rallies lasting longer than normal tennis, making it a fun and addictive sport to play.
Here are seven social media strategies to utilize in your racquet club’s marketing plan.
No. 1: Identify the social media your tennis, pickleball and other racquet sports members are using most. You may think it is Facebook, especially if you are someone in their 40s, 50s or 60s. Younger members in their teens, 20s and 30s might be using Instagram and Snapchat with more regularity. Don’t rely on just what you know, use everyone on your staff to help determine where your members are on social media.
Do a poll or survey about where you your current members are spending their time (likely the same as potential members) and be active there.
No. 2: Promote your club’s tennis and pickleball events before, during and after. Always do a preview of a big tournament or event at your racquet sports club on social media, then send out daily or hourly updates as it is going on with photos video using a live feed from your preferred platform, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Social media is a great way to get people to come to your events, as well as to build anticipation for them. Promote your events on social media and post live updates and recaps afterwards to encourage anyone who didn’t attend to come to the next one.
No. 3: Make sure you post photos and video clips and highlight the staff and tennis and pickleball teaching professionals from your club. Give everyone who interacts with your club members a forum and way to introduce themselves. Creating a digital community that shows off your club culture is massively valuable in foster interaction between members and staff.
To make your association more familiar, share pictures and videos of your social events and meetings. It also allows those who were unable to attend to feel connected and still be a part of things.
No. 4: Comment and interact with your members. After you post your own racquet club events and news on social media, watch the comments and then promote your members. Liking, commenting and replying to your members’ posts keeps you engaged tapped into what they’re up to.
No. 5: Let people know what’s going on behind-the-scenes at your racquet club. You can give members and potential racquet club members a view into what the day-to-day is like at on the courts and at the club. Whether it’s a candid tennis picture, a funny pickleball moment or a party, it makes members feel connected to their association.
No. 6: Work on quantifying the results. After you have put the time and effort into a month or social media, determine if it has helped your gain new members. Knowing what has worked and what’s not working will help shape your future efforts.
Again, creating a poll or survey is a great way to quantify how many of your club’s patrons are following and engaged with your platforms. When you sell a membership or bring in a customer, be sure to ask and track how they heard of you. If it’s through a social media platform this will help quantify time spent or ad spending on social media and digital marketing.
No.7: Affiliate Marketing: Your members are a select group of consumers interested in using related racquet sports products and services, so offering them affiliated products on online lessons or courses, coaching and sports products is valuable to them. Having access to these discounts will introduce them to all the great things your club offers.
Your club can offer member’s only deals, and then when someone signs up or buys a product, the club gets a commission. These Affiliate Marketing programs are becoming more and more popular and easily found by searching Google.
Mike Manzella, founder of Racquet-Pros.com, has experience as both an employer and a coach, and as noted currently serves as Executive Director of Racquets of South Towns Tennis Club, in Orchard Park, New York.